Not very often are we allowed to enter a private home in Mallorca. In the olden days, it was customary to receive visitors on the ground floor. No-one other than close family was ever allowed to intrude on the privacy of the Planta Noble, with the exception of the cleric, or members of the nobility. Exceptions were only made when a child was born or when a death had occurred and when visitors came to pay their respects.
Nowadays, customs seem to have changed very little. Only on a rare occasion are we allowed to enter into the private quarters of a Mallorcan home, unless a very special bond of friendship has been formed. Yes, we might be invited for a meal but, more often than not, the invitation would be for the meal to be taken at a restaurant. There might be an exceptional festive occasion such as a baptism, a communion or a wedding but, again, more often than not the celebration would be marked at a hired venue.
To see what the Mallorcan upper class lived like, we are usually restricted to what is open to the public in the way of museums. Can Marcel (Abaco) in Palma’s old town gives a good example on its first floor of a private home during the 18th century. A visit to Can Marquès, a Casa Senyorial in Palma, could give an impression of domestic life in the 19th and early 20th century. And finally, Casa Morell, better known as Casal Solleric, now an art and exhibition centre, was a private residence during the 18th century, that of the Marquès de Sollerich. On the first floor, two rooms are decorated with what might have been its original furniture and fittings (see photo above).
Casal Solleric currently presents two exhibitions that are well worth a visit. One, by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, is on display precisely on the Planta Noble, where the two rooms with the historic decoration are situated. The other exhibition is on the ground floor and is by Chinese artist Gao Xingjian, better known as the Nobel laureate for Literature (2000). The paintings are lovely and vibrant but, sadly the exhibition is hung extremely unprofessionally and in an insensitive manner. The large format paintings seem to suffocate for a lack of wall space, and the smaller works upstairs are displayed in a rather haphazard way. I think it would have been much better to have the Mexican photos on display where the Chinese paintings are shown, and the Xingjian works would be much better placed in the generous layout of the Planta Noble with its high ceilings.
But, still, the work of both artists merits your visit.
The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 29th, 2010. The time was 12:40:55.